Students bike to help DM

Seventeen people, eighteen bicycles, 175 miles.

That’s what several members of the University Greek community will be trying to conquer while many University students will be dancing.

The weekend of March 23 — the same weekend as Dance Marathon — the 17 bicyclers will ride 175 miles from Cincinnati to Bowling Green. Once in town, they will ride into the Student Recreation Center during the Dance Marathon final countdown March 25.

Sigma Chi brother Mark Johnston came up with the idea for the ride back in September. He had wanted to do something like this on a personal level when he graduated, but then said, ‘Why wait? I thought doing it for a good cause would be better.’ The idea began to spread when Johnston took it to his Sigma Chi chapter meeting.

He was not initially taken seriously by the brothers.

‘They all thought, what the heck is he doing?’ Johnston said. ‘Then Joe Skariah, the Sigma Chi house director, decided to join up and people began to take me more seriously.’

Skariah said, ‘It was a really great and innovative idea. I knew it would be done well and that it was a good opportunity to bond with the guys in the chapter.’

Fifteen other people joined the team.

The group as a whole hopes to raise $4,000 for Dance Marathon. They plan to accomplish this through flat pledges and donations, and each rider must raise $200.

They also have some fundraisers planned, such as selling T-shirts which the riders will also wear out on the ride. Those will cost $12, with $8 going directly to Dance Marathon.

Johnston wanted to do this to ‘really make an impact and show leadership through action. Other organizations can do the same kind of thing to make money. There are so many ways to fund raise for charity.’

Skariah said, ‘Even though it is my first year at the University, I’ve heard so much about Dance Marathon. I just felt that it was a really good cause.’

The riders are participating in an intense training program. They have group rides on Saturdays and during the week. Each member attempts to do one 30 minute ride per week, a leg workout and three days a week of riding with an emphasis on distance.

‘I’m completely new to this in terms of training, but I’m looking forward to it. I saw Dance Marathon last year as a spectator, and it looked like a lot of fun,’ Audria Stout, Pi Beta Phi house director, said.

‘This is meant to be a mental and physical challenge, but I wanted to make a really big difference for Dance Marathon,’ Johnston said. ‘It’s taken a long time to plan, but so far it’s gone really well. I’ve just been overwhelmed with the response.’